Pharmacy Technology News

Pharmacy TimesOctober 2009
Volume 75
Issue 10

OMG, the CDC Is Texting Me!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is putting H1N1 and other health information at the fingertips of interested parties with its mobile texting pilot. Started last month, the pilot will run for 3 months, with subscribers receiving around 3 health tip messages each week.

Subscribing to the program is free, although standard text messaging rates from wireless carriers apply. Upon signing up, new subscribers will receive 4 introductory messages containing questions. Simply text the word HEALTH to 87000 to subscribe. Users can opt out at any time by replying to a CDC message with the words HEALTH QUIT. The CDC is asking for subscribers to offer feedback on the texting program during the pilot.

RIVA Voted Top Health Systems Robot

RIVA (Robotic Intravenous Automation), a self-contained unit for filling intravenous syringes and bags, is the top choice for directors of pharmacy seeking to invest in robotic automation, according to a recent survey. Conducted this past summer by Pharmacy Purchasing and Products, a publication for health system pharmacists, the survey forecasted a bright future for robotic automation in health care settings, with 15% of the responding directors of pharmacy stating that they are considering the purchase of a robotic device. Of this group, 77% named Intelligent Hospital (IH) Systems’ RIVA as one of their choices.

“We believe our program of working closely with our health care partners from initial contact to ongoing operation has allowed us to develop a strong reputation for doing what we say,” said Jane Arnot, IH Systems vice president of sales and marketing. “We are not looking for noise or spin, but to simply help health care facilities achieve their goals for patient safety through the strategic investment in robot innovation.”

For more information on RIVA, visit

Medtipster Leads Patients to You for Vaccination against Flu

With the flurry of patients seeking flu shots this season, Medtipster has created a solution to help guide them to pharmacies and retail clinics that provide the vaccinations. Visitors to www., a site developed to steer patients toward discount generic drug programs, can find flu vaccination sites by clicking on the flashing flu shot icon at the top of the page. From there, they will be prompted to enter a zip code, which will yield a list of local pharmacies and clinics offering the immunizations. Included in the list are contact information, immunization cost, and a map of the site location. The “Suggest a Pharmacy” button on the search page allows users to recommend a location in their area that is not yet included in search results.

Futuristic Adherence Technology Gives New Meaning to Eating Chips

A new microchip technology is making efforts to ensure medication adherence reaches a whole new level, essentially providing the equivalent of someone looking over a patient’s shoulder to remind them of their dosage times. Novartis has partnered with Proteus Biomedical to develop a system that would insert tiny, digestible microchips into pills, which would communicate with a chip implant on a patient’s shoulder to alert them via text message if they forget to take medications at the prescribed time, a Financial Times report stated.

Proteus Biomedical developed the technology, which consists of ingestible event markers (IEMs) made with food ingredients, according to the company’s Web site. Once activated by stomach fluids, the IEM delivers a low-powered, digital signal through the body to a microelectronic receiver that is either held in place by a patch or implanted under the skin. From there, the receiver records the date and time, as well as information including the drug type, dose, and place of manufacture. It also has the ability to calculate and report heart rate, activity, and rate of respiration.

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